Dunn & Dusted
Paul Dunn, HPE Print, 2005, 305pp, £10.99 ISBN 0 9551 1022 00
This book is an account of the life of a North Yorkshire farmer, his diary, his memories, his photographs, sayings - and a very useful glossary of farming and Yorkshire terms!! It is not a book for those wishing to indulge in deep theological debate … so I really enjoyed it!
Paul is an ‘ordinary’ man whose honesty in his writing is refreshing. Some books have the ability to make one feel a failure, but this one inspires and, although it evokes many memories, it also gives hope for the future. He was born into a Christian farming family and it is clear that it is his faith in the Lord Jesus that has carried him - and all his family - through the hard times and the good times. He comes across as ‘larger than life’ and puts in more than 100 percent to whatever he does. He recounts memories of his parents and some local characters with obvious respect and fondness.
From an early age Paul kept a diary of all the events that were happening around him. Farmers are always weather-watching and here we have years of recorded weather patterns on the moors. And what a diverse picture it makes - today it would all be put down to global warming! Paul also recounts prices received on the sale of stock, milk and other produce, showing that in real terms prices have in fact decreased. This is quite an eye-opener for anyone outside the farming community. Paul has had his share of bad moments, but he has kept going - with the obvious support and love of his family.
There have been the many farming highlights too. A great source of family pride has been the success of showing animals and produce at the country shows and winning a considerable number of the prizes.
The Dunn family have stuck together, worked with each other, laughed and cried together and probably worried together. In this age of broken homes and families it’s wonderful to read about a strong family unit. Again this is a unit with Christ as the centre.
Paul’s description of chapel life with its gospel music groups, its gatherings, its outings, all evoked memories of my childhood in a village chapel with Sunday Schools and weekday meetings. So many of these little chapels are facing closure today and hard decisions have to be made. Paul and his family have had to make some difficult choices in this area, some which probably never entered his head as he studied at Cliff College and became a local preacher.
This book is not merely a diary of events; it is a journey to the future built on a firm foundation.
Farmers and country folk should read it because they will understand and be encouraged. Townsfolk should read it in the hope that they will gain understanding and respect for a way of life that is being sanitised and threatened with extinction. You should read it and give thanks to God that his children are influencing the areas in which they live and work.
Reviewed by Jacqui Galton, a retired teacher who used to breed Jacob Sheep on her small holding in Devon.
Headline Summer 2006 p.27